Darian held Torrin to him and stared into the trees. He should be shutting down his body, allowing himself to get a light
rest before having to face the danger around him.
But he couldn't. Not yet.
The body beneath his arms, warn and soft, was fragile. He knew that. He'd seen the bruises. He'd watched as an unknown injury
– in reality his magic rejecting a source – slowly destroying Torrin's ability to move. He'd heard Torrin
scream that he wasn't a doll, wasn't a whore. Wasn't a tool.
He was right. He had never needed to rape anyone. And even if Torrin had begged for him in the end, he hadn't wanted it to
But for Darian, sex relaxed him, gave him a restful night. Exhausted him enough to sleep, while giving him new strength. Finding
ways, new ways, to have sex, to ignite passion, sharpened his senses. A small skill, much less than Torrin's. Still important.
To survive... extremely important.
But sex was sex. Torrin should be used only in bed. Nothing else. Nowhere else. He had decided that after hearing Torrin's
screaming and watching him try to escape when it wasn't possible for him to move. Had decided the same about his powers after
hearing Torrin tell him his powers as Torrin stared at him with that fear, that tension. Waiting to be used. Waiting to be
He gritted his teeth. He had been through those emotions. He had known that fear. He would not put Torrin through that.
But Torrin had turned it around. “Then for a friend.” The thought of those words brought the same emotions
– shock, fear, hope... joy. He had never had a friend before. Not with his father being the man he is. Not with his
own goal being what it was.
But the idea... the thought of Torrin being his friend as well as his sex partner... maybe more than that... lover? He'd never
truly thought of his bed partners as lovers.
Could they be lovers? Could they be friends? Why did Torrin consider him a friend? Darian hadn't even been able to protect
But he would. He would not allow Torrin to be harmed again. No matter what.
He nuzzled Torrin's silky blond hair and drifted off to sleep, holding his lover tightly to his chest.
He woke Torrin shortly before dawn. Torrin helped him clean up the leaves. Torrin swatted him away when he tried to help.
More amused than angry, he allowed Torrin to do the work. They finished off the rabbit he'd caught and ate some of Torrin's
fruit. They saved the rest for when they would walk during the day.
Torrin was quiet bur attentive, checking Darian's wound often. He was silent by his side... but he was by his side. That alone
amazed Darian. Why didn't Torrin try to escape? He had tried to escape when he shouldn't have been able to stand. Why didn't
he try again now?
Torrin didn't try to escape when he went off for a bathroom break shortly after crossing the river. He didn't even complain
at Darian's pace, even though it was obviously difficulty for the Stravian to keep up.
He ordered a break at midday and scouted the area. He was painfully aware of how Torrin wearily fell to the ground and leaned
against a tree, his eyes closed.
When he returned, Torrin hadn't moved.
Torrin looked at him without even turning his head. Without a sound, he took a small portion of the fruit he'd caught and
took slow, nibbling bites.
Slow, loss of appetite. His concubine wasn't just tired, he was exhausted. Sweating, sloe-eyed. Shit.
“We'll rest here for a short time.”
Torrin's brow furrowed. “We'll lose time.”
“We'll lose even more time if you pass out,” Darian told him. “Rest. I'll wake you when it's time to leave.”
Torrin looked... concerned? It warmed him to see it, just as it terrified him. Still, he said nothing as Torrin finally nodded
and laid down on the hard ground. He had no doubt that Torrin would fall asleep in seconds.
What he did doubt was whether Torrin would be allowed to rest before being rudely interrupted.
He was dreaming, wasn't he? Why else would he blindly follow a man he'd thought an enemy a mere week ago? Why did he not run?
Why did he not complain about the ridiculous pace the prince set?
The answer was simple: he wanted the prince safe.
But the answer only brought more questions. Why would he stay with prince to ensure his safety?
And why – why – was he afraid of failing?
He awoke to a sharp jerk on his shoulder and saw Darian's face looming above him, their lips inches apart. He blushed.
“We must move,” Darian told him, then left his side to carefully scan the area.
Torrin shook himself out of his daze and quickly stood. “Are they here?” he whispered.
“Almost,” Darian replied. “I'll try to take one out. You-” he turned sharply towards Torrin and glared
at him. “Stay out of the way.”
Torrin knew he'd healed Darian's wound. He also knew that Darian was most likely a prized combatant, skilled and fearless.
Probably almost invincible on the battlefield. But he was afraid.
He didn't tell Darian to be careful. He didn't wish him luck. But he did watch Darian as he slipped into the trees, watched
even as he didn't see him anymore. Then he moved away from where Darian had disappeared... and feared recognizing the prince's
He didn't know how long he waited, how long he sat crouching behind a tree straining to Feel energy. Any energy. If he Felt
energy, then the battle might be over. As long as it wasn't Darian's...
But he Felt nothing for a long time – an unknown time, time that inched forward into eternity. “Darian,”
he finally whispered, “where are you?” Had he been abandoned? Left behind? Get healed by the freak, then run from
him? Somehow, worse than being used was being abandoned. Being used meant there was purpose for your existence, that at least
someone wanted you around. That someone wanted you alive. Abandoned, he was alone.
What would he become, all alone?
He heard footsteps behind him and turned quickly. A man stood before him, barely favoring his right side. He wore a Stravian
uniform and had dark hair.
When Torrin saw the man's eyes, he saw peculiar silver irises.
He knew exactly who this man was.
“You're alive!” he gasped, though he knew well that saying such might be dangerous – though at the moment
he couldn't tell for who.
The man looked surprised for a moment, then confused. He studied Torrin for a long time. Looking swiftly away from the red
of Torrin's shirt – Darian's shirt, actually – he studied the hair, the face. Then looked into his eyes. Recognition
flashed then. “The medic,” he whispered.
“Yes,” Torrin said. Awkward suddenly, he asked, “are you all right? Why are you wearing Stravian colors?
To elude your captors?”
The man shook his head. His hand snapped behind him, unsheathing a sword from a scabbard on his back. He whipped it into Torrin's
face. “Stupid, filthy Coran. I am a Stravian.”
Torrin ran a full gamut of emotions – confusion, surprise, anger... fear. “W-Wait. I'm not a Coran. I'm a Stravian.
Honestly!” he said when the man gave him a look of intense disbelief. “I'm a Stravian – I was taken by Corath's
The man's eyes flickered to Torrin's arm – to search for an insignia, Torrin realized. He seemed to note the lack of
one as perhaps a sign of truth.
“Why did you help them?” the man asked. Them. The army, then – working as a medic?
“I was forced to,” Torrin admitted. “The prince... heard of my abilities as a healer. He sent me to work
as a medic – you were one of my patients.”
“I remember you looking at me... I remember your face. Dismay. You thought I would die.”
On that, Torrin couldn't find a way to evade or lie. “Yes.”
“But you ended up saving me nonetheless.”
Torrin wondered if this questioning would be like Darian's, with so many twists and turns you don't know if you've been saved
or condemned. “Yes.”
Well, there was a question that was a bit unexpected. Torrin had never thought the man would ask why Torrin tried to save
him. Had he wanted to die, too? “Because,” Torrin replied, knowing he sounded as confused as he felt, “you
were hurting and I could help. Not to mention,” he thought afterwards, “that I thought I would die if I didn't
The man's eyes narrowed at that last comment. Torrin gulped. Had saying that been a bad idea? Shit! He was stupid!
“Come with me.”
Torrin took a step back, fearing the worst. “What?”
“Come with me,” the man repeated. “Escape the Corans. Stravius is sending back-up to Fort Shiro, having
finally accepted that Corath has attacked and will not leave peacefully. Come with us. We'll protect you.”
The offer sounded absolutely beautiful. He wouldn't be forced into sex, he wouldn't have to go to Coran Castle. Though there
would be the prince. But alone, he most likely-
-He most likely would survive.
Torrin shook his head. “I-”
Another Stravian showed up, falling from a tree. He landed on his feet and glared at Torrin and his healed charge. “What
is wrong, sir?” the man demanded.
“Same to you,” Silver-eyes said. “Report.”
“The prince has taken out two men,” the man said. “Torrin noted was lean form – similar to Torrin's
own – and the buzzed-off hair hair that made him practically bald. “I can't get a good shot. He moves quickly
– he probably knew I was there.”
The prince. Darian. So he was all right. Torrin only now realized that he'd been so distracted he hadn't even Felt
the energy rise.
So he's already killed two men,” Silver-eyes said. He turned to Torrin. “Come with us.”
“Also, sir,” the man added, then hesitated, “I... lost him. That's why I came here.”
Torrin backed away from the both of them. Lost him? Had Darian abandoned him?
“I may need you to return to my country and Coran Castle.”
No. Darian wouldn't have left him. Besides, Darian knew the danger of losing Torrin, if Torrin joined with these men. Darian
didn't take chances. Ever.
“We need to hurry,” Silver-eyes spoke up again, then held his hand out to Torrin. “Come on.”
Torrin shook his head. “N-”
Both Torrin and Silver-eyes turned to the other Stravian. Blood splattered the surrounding area. Darian, his sword bloody,
stood behind him, Darian's cold brown eyes locked on Torrin for a heart-stopping second before turning to Silver-eyes.
Torrin's patient turned his sword on Darian. Both prepared to clash, but Torrin already knew how things would end. He shoved
his patient out of the way. “Go!” he shouted. The man hesitated for a split second. “Get out of here!”
His patient's startling eyes narrowed before he ran into the forest. Torrin turned to face Darian's building wrath. “He's
still my patient,” Torrin said sternly. As his medic, it is my duty to do everything I can to-”
Darian's sword pricked his neck. Torrin froze.
“If you are going to help the enemy, then you are the enemy.” Darian's dark brown eyes burned.
Torrin trembled, but he stood his ground. “That man remembered me. He just wanted to return the favor of saving-”
“He tried to kill me!” Darian snarled. Despite his anger, his sword never wavered. Torrin took a short moment
to stand in awe of Darian's skill.
“It's because he's a part of the Stravian army – it's his job,” Torrin argued, but he couldn't deny the
fact that the thought of the man coming back to try to kill Darian worried him.
“That doesn't take away the danger.” Darian was growling, his voice getting softer and softer. Torrin knew instinctively
that Darian was livid.
“I know that,” Torrin snapped, “but still... that man... I risked my life to bring him back from
death. Can't you understand? I didn't want to lose another one!”
He saw the hesitation in Darian's eyes and had to look away. This man... Darian was different from others he'd met. He was
a prisoner informed that he wasn't a tool.
He was a prisoner willing to be a tool.
He started trembling again. No. No way. He wasn't that foolish. He didn't want to be this man's tool. He wasn't going to be
that stupid. He wouldn't give himself over to... to anyone just because...
“Then for a friend.”
Torrin closed his eyes. He couldn't worry about this. He shouldn't even think about it. Just help the prince. Not the enemy.
Not the king. Just the prince. Just Darian. Don't worry about it. Don't think about it.
Why was it so hard to not think about it?!
“That man is the enemy now,” Darian said finally. “Whether he's your patient or not. But,” Darian
added, making Torrin look up again, “if you join him, or have intentions of joining him, I'll kill you.”
For some reason, the thought didn't scare him – probably because he had no intention of joining his patient. Why was
that? He felt something within himself, an emotion that he'd never felt before. A terrifying emotion. He strangled it and
carefully ignored the reasons why.
Darian sighed. “Why?”
Torrin just opened his eyes and stared at him. “Why what?”
“Why were about to tell him 'no'?”
Torrin blushed. “I... I, uh...” He had just stopped himself from thinking about it!
“Are you afraid of him?”
“What?” Torrin snapped, incredulous. Like he would be afraid of his patient!
Darian sighed again. “Then why?”
“I...” Torrin had no good answer. Probably because he had struggled to not find out the answer. “I don't
Darian said nothing to that, only stared for a long period of time. Torrin partly wanted to answer, but he didn't want to
know the answer. He somehow knew that the answer would shatter his tenuous world.
Finally, Darian snorted. “I see.” Darian cleaned his sword on the downed enemy's shirt and sheathed it, then turned
back to Torrin. He raised his hand to Torrin's face. He flinched, half-way expecting a blow. But Darian merely touched Torrin's
chin. The touch was gentle, light. Darian, his lips only inches away, smiled. Torrin found himself breathless.
And, with a sigh, their lips met.
It was as wondrous as the first – as overpowering. With his arms free, Torrin gently wrapped them around Darian's neck.
Darian growled and pulled Torrin onto him, deepening the kiss. One of Darian's arms was around his back while the other grabbed
his buttocks and pulled him onto Darian's heat. Torrin gasped.
With another growl, Darian released him.
Torrin took a few moments to remember how to breathe. How could anyone kiss like that? Just one kiss, and Torrin was hard
as a rock and ready to... to... even in a battle situation.
With a corpse nearby.
He finally got his breath back and looked at Darian. The prince had a triumphant look on his face that made Torrin blush.
Darian laughed at that.
“Are... are you hurt?” Torrin asked finally, trying to get his blush under control.
Darian looked confused for a second. “No.” Torrin breathed a sigh of relief. “I thought you couldn't use
the enemy's energy.”
Torrin shook his head. “I can use it – it just hurts me. I had worried that there was also a chance of hurting
the person I had given the energy to, but my patients have not been harmed. You wouldn't be in any danger.”
Darian snorted. “What do you mean by... 'hurt you'? How?”
Torrin shrugged. “I don't know exactly.” And wouldn't it be safer if they left the area as soon as possible? “It's
like...” He didn't know how to explain it. “It's as if my body rebels against me... like everything I do creates
a pain... like being burned and stabbed at the same time.” It was the best explanation he could give.
Darian's eyes penetrated him. Then he sighed once more. “That's the same as not being able to do it.” Darian had
a gentle smile on his face when he murmured, “fool medic.”
Torrin blushed. “I can still... help.”
Darian's smile warmed even more. “You needn't.” Darian searched the dead body then, and Torrin had to turn away.
The sound of moving cloth ended finally, and Darian came back into view, now brandishing a bow, arrow, and small sword. Darian
handed the bow and quiver to Torrin. “Take these.”
Torrin stared at them as if they would jump up and strike him. “Surely you're jesting,” he argued. “I don't
know how to use that thing!”
“It's time you learned.” He also handed Torrin the sword after he got the quiver secure on his back. “At
least now you have the weapons to defend yourself, if not the skill.”
Torrin held the sword, still sheathed, in one hand, and the bow in the other. He felt like he was going to poke his eyes out
with the things. “Perhaps you should have the bow and arrow.”
Darian snorted. “I, unlike you, can take care of myself.”
Torrin hesitated. “But what if I hit you by mistake?”
“Don't,” Darian advised astutely, then pushed him forward.
Torrin awkwardly tied the sword around his hips and prayed he had no need of the weapons given to him.
He awoke in the middle of the night to the feel of Darian's body crushing him. He noticed with a start that Darian's armor
and clothes were gone. “Daria-”
Darian crushed his lips with his own, effectively silencing him. Darian grabbed his wrists and slammed them onto the leaves
he'd gathered to act as their bed that night.
“Need,” Darian growled, rubbing his hips roughly against Torrin's. He nipped Torrin's throat, then sucked. Torrin
couldn't stop the spike of pleasure, even as confusion made him hesitate.
“Darian, what-” He was silenced again when Darian pulled off Torrin's tunic. Torrin's pants jumped after his shirt,
then his underpants.
Darian seemed almost possessed, letting go of Torrin's hand to run his finders down Torrin's stomach. Darian's head dipped
again to lick one nipple before rising again.
Torrin froze as his eyes finally adjusted enough to see Darian's face. There was something wrong with Darian's eyes. He couldn't
tell exactly what in the dark, but-
Darian grabbed Torrin's cock, effectively eliminating thought. Torrin let out a soft mewling sound and jerked up into Darian's
hand. The growl that lifted from Darian's throat was more animal than human.
“Darian,” Torrin gasped, straining in Darian's hand as he began to pump. “What... unnh... what's-”
Darian claimed Torrin's lips again, silencing him. “Nnh...” Torrin lifted his hands, trying to push Darian away.
A fruitless effort, and half-hearted. The heat inside him was rising, pulsing and roaring. He ended up clutching Darian's
shoulders as Darian rubbed Torrin's cock, dripping with pre-cum, and continued to kiss his brains out.
Darian's fingers went to his opening, slick with his own pre-cum. Carefully, slowly, Darian slid a finger into him.
Torrin jerked, first in pain, then in overwhelming pleasure. While Darian's finger twisted inside him, his other hand fisted
around his member once again, slowly pumping. Darian's hips thrust at him in the same rhythm.
Darian touched Torrin's tip again, smoothing the slick wetness over a second finger before slowly pushing it in to join the
first. Torrin cried out, in ecstasy or agony he couldn't say.
When a third joined, the pain lanced through him for at least half a minute before the pleasure inside him was able to respond
to Darian's strokes. But revive it did, building in him until he felt ready to explode-
Pain split his opening in half, making him cry out – this time in pure pain. Through the tears that spurted in his eyes,
he saw a look of – despair? Disgust? A mixture of both, Torrin thought – as Darian paused for a split second.
Then Darian moaned and moved within Torrin. The movements were slow, allowing Torrin to adjust. His erection returned despite
himself, and he started arcing into Darian. Darian only then quickened his thrusts, his body straining desperately. Torrin
pulled Darian down to him, trying to ease the tension in Darian's shoulders and back even as he strained for that bright light
out of his reach.
When finally he touched it, he cried out and scored his nails into Darian's back, arcing into Darian's thrusts. His head fell
back as the ecstasy tore through him, then again and again, like waves of lightning. He heard Darian's release shortly after,
an animalistic growl of triumph. Deeper, almost unheard, was a human gasp of shock and horror.
“Torrin!” He thought he heard Darian's voice calling to him. He felt the warmth inside him disappear, leaving
him cold. Something gripped him, touching his shoulders, his cheek. There was that beautifully perfect voice calling his name
again. The voice's tone seemed to rise in panic when he didn't answer. Should he answer? For some reason, doing that seemed
a but too difficult.
The hands paused on his stomach and a horrified intake of breath sounded. “No,” that voice breathed, breaking
on that one single word. Gentle finders moved to touch the center of pain that was holding him from slipping into unconsciousness.
He managed to flinch and moan. “No,” that voice repeated, “no, Torrin – what have I done to you?”
He thought he should comfort that voice, but he couldn't seem to summon the strength. He wondered what had happened to him
and how bad it was. Was he going to die? It didn't seem that bad. His powers would probably heal him – but there
was no energy.
That thought brought a frown to his lips and brow. The beautiful voice. If he was going to die, he couldn't leave that beautiful
voice the way it was. It should be full of laughter. He wanted to hear it laugh.
Laugh, he managed to whisper – or did he? – and could only hope the voice understood.
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